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An African History of Africa : From the Dawn of Humanity to Independence - Zeinab Badawi

An African History of Africa

From the Dawn of Humanity to Independence

By: Zeinab Badawi

Paperback | 23 April 2024

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Zeinab Badawi, award-winning broadcaster and President of SOAS, tells an epic story of the oldest inhabited continent in the world from an African perspective, for fans of William Dalrymple, David Olusoga and Peter Frankopan.

*Selected as a book to look out for in 2024 by the Guardian*

Everyone is originally from Africa, and this book is therefore for everyone.


For too long, Africa's history has been dominated by western narratives of slavery and colonialism, or simply ignored. Now, Zeinab Badawi sets the record straight.

In this fascinating book, Badawi guides us through Africa's spectacular history - from the very origins of our species, through ancient civilisations and medieval empires with remarkable queens and kings, to the miseries of conquest and the elation of independence. Visiting more than thirty African countries to interview countless historians, anthropologists, archaeologists and local storytellers, she unearths buried histories from across the continent and gives Africa its rightful place in our global story.

The result is a gripping new account of Africa- an epic, sweeping history of the oldest inhabited continent on the planet, told through the voices of Africans themselves.

About the Author

Zeinab Badawi is an award-winning broadcaster, journalist, and filmmaker. She is President of SOAS University of London and is an honorary fellow of her alma mater St Hilda's College, Oxford. Born in Sudan, she has worked in the British media for several decades. Zeinab is a recipient of the President's Medal of the British Academy, a Patron of the United Nations Association UK, and is on the boards of the Arts, Humanities and Research Council, MINDS (the Mandela Institute for Development Studies), the International Crisis Group and Afrobarometer. She was previously Chair of the Royal African Society. An African History of Africa is her first book.
Industry Reviews
Both a tour d'horizon and a tour de force, marvellously readable and beautifully written. This is a book that should be read by anyone who is interested in Africa, by anyone who thinks they know all they need to know about Africa, and above all by anyone who has no interest in Africa at all. It will transform their views of the continent, its peoples and its histories. I cannot recommend it too strongly or praise it too highly -- Professor Sir David Cannadine

Zeinab Badawi's remarkable new book lives up to her dependable standards of excellence. It takes the reader on an up-close-and-personal journey across this unique continent, seemingly holding your hand while uncovering extraordinary gems of truth as she allows previously untold stories to be heard -- Margaret Busby

This is a book we have needed: a clear account of the fascinating history of Africa from an African perspective. I learned something on every page. It will leave everyone who reads it better informed and more thoughtful about the vast opportunity that can now be found in a continent we have often misunderstood -- Lord William Hague

One of the greatest strengths of this wonderful African History of Africa and what makes it so engaging is the way Zeinab Badawi narrates the great sweep of this continent's rich history as a personal voyage of discovery, and in doing so is able to portray her feelings of the experience, be it touching humanity's most ancient bones or venturing into the dungeons of slave castles -- Dr Kevin Shillington

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